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Essay

George Namachanja

Year-Prize: The 9th Eco-generation Environmental Essay Competition     Item: Fight against illegal trade in wildlife

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The Fight against Illegal Trade in Wildlife Illegal Trade of Wildlife in Kenya and its Effect on Future Generations 

Winner's name: George Namachanja (Kenya)
Prize: Honorable Mention
 


The rich biodiversity of Kenya?s ecosystem is a great treasure that is gradually giving way to encroachment from anthropogenic factors. Close to ten thousand documented species of flora and fauna are found in Kenya. About two thousands of these are animals. As a matter of fact, Kenya is home to some of the world?s rarest animal species. These include the Eastern Black Rhinoceros, the Green Turtle and the Sokoke Pipit. The past thirty years of Kenya?s wildlife history have been marked with incalculable levels of illegal trade in wildlife. Over three hundred species of flora and fauna found in Kenya are exposed to a high degree of vulnerability. The practice has been so severe that the nation has seen the level of its natural heritage plummet at an alarming rate. This essay discusses wildlife trade in Kenya and the world as a whole giving solutions that could expedite the ultimate obliteration of the vice. 
Illegal trade in wildlife in Kenya was officially banned by the Kenyan government in 1977, twelve years before The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) banned illegal trade in ivory. This initial commendable effort, though coming at a time when the vice was just taking root across the nation, did not curb illegal trade in wildlife per se. If anything, the following decades after this proscription witnessed rampant poaching and illegal trade in ivory. It was not until the formation of the Kenya Wildlife Service in 1990 that the government stepped up its efforts against illegal trade in wildlife. It is the Kenya Wildlife Service that spearheaded the recent torching of ivory and rhino horns worth $ 180 million in April this year at the Nairobi National Park. This action sent a clear message that the nation will not relent in its efforts to put an end to illegal trade in wildlife. 
Future generations are bound to be directly impacted by the current illegal trade in wildlife. The wildlife found in Kenya has for a long time been the nation?s identity and heritage. For instance, the annual Wildebeest migration across the Mara River has enabled the nation make it to the list of the Seven Wonders of the World. If illegal trade in wildlife does away with this source of national prestige, then the future generation will not be in a position to find pride in this migration. The future generation will also miss the opportunity to see and appreciate some of the world?s rarest animal species. 
Illegal trade in wildlife can be effaced if the legal degree of the crime is raised across the world. The trade should be classified in the same category as first degree murder or drug trafficking. This means that the offenders should get more serious penalties for engaging in the same. This will hopefully keep off the illegal traders who have previously devised furtive measures to avoid the long arm of the law. The value attributed to animal life should also be raised such that the illegal wildlife traders will face a sentence as serious as a life sentence or life imprisonment. 
Illegal wildlife trade can also be stopped by deploying advanced technology in monitoring and guarding the wildlife. It is common knowledge that most governments spend the highest percentage of their budget on military agendas. Illegal wildlife traders have also taken poaching to another level operating as fully armed crime syndicates. In order to stage up a formidable resistance to such an organized crime, governments have no option but to equally advance the security systems used to monitor and guard wildlife. 
In conclusion, it is evident from this paper that illegal trade in wildlife is rampant in Kenya and the world as a whole. It is also clear that the illegal trade in wildlife has an adverse effect on the nation?s future generations. Lastly, this essay has also discussed some of the measures that can be used to eradicate illegal trade in wildlife, such as raising the legal punishment handed to offenders and deploying advanced technologies to monitor and safeguard wildlife. 


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